Clare TD and Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Transport, Timmy Dooley is calling on the Transport Minister to rule out any sale of the Government’s stake in Aer Lingus in order to protect Ireland’s strategic national interests.
IAG has come forward with a third offer for the carrier, believed to be worth €2.50 a share. Any such sale could see Aer Lingus’ critical Heathrow slots siphoned off, risking future connectivity and jobs at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.
“IAG’s pursuit of Aer Lingus is becoming more aggressive with every passing week, and I am gravely concerned by the Minister Paschal Donohoe’s silence on the issue. I’m calling on him to categorically rule out any sale of the Government’s 25% stake in Aer Lingus, and by doing so effectively block the IAG takeover. The fallout from any sale of the airline is being dramatically underplayed,” he said.
Continuing, Deputy Dooley said,“The threat to the valuable Heathrow slots could see Ireland’s access to international destinations severely curtailed, as many of the routes to Asia, America and Australia are serviced through the airport. The continuation of these slots is of major strategic interest; Ireland is highly dependent on exports and tourism and the Heathrow slots are valuable commodities in maintaining our links to the wider world. These routes are a major enabler in facilitating inward investment as well as boosting ourtourism figures.
“Any changes to Aer Lingus’ current operations could have a significant impact on Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports; stymying their links with Heathrow and restricting access to other countries which are served via Heathrow.